|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ANGLAIS ★ UNDERSTANDING DBASE II|8000 Plus) ★|
|Understanding dBase II||Littérature Anglais|
dBase II is an extremely powerful database programming language. The manual isn't actually bad, but if you've only worked with a few other databases in the last three months, and your degree in computing is only an average one, then you could well find it a bit daunting; it's a bit like trying to learn Spanish conversation purely from a grammar book and tapes. This book aims to take beginners from scratch and guide them through to writing programs. It accomplishes that nicely - if the manual is a grammar book, then this is more of a conversational guide.
The book is, like the program, American through and through, though this shouldn't necessarily put you off. It talks about zips and states in addresses, and the style of presentation is much like an American college text. The tone is laid-back (but definitely straightfaced) and there are clearly defined 'units' with short introductions outlining what you'll be learning to do - Sorting the Database, Managing Multiple Files, and so on.
The layout is clean and clear; in particular, all text that appears on, or would be entered on the screen, appears in a different colour to the main text, which tidies things up nicely. The worked examples described are the standard names-and-addresses, labelling, mailshots, stock control and so on. all with a clear approach and a running commentary on what is happening and why.
The programming section is the most important in the book - after all, dBase is dBase; if it wasn't, er... it wouldn't be the package that it is. Many of those who have bought dBase for its awesome power in handling data may be quite unfamiliar with what a program is and what it does, never mind how to write one. There's a good introduction to the concept of writing programs on dBase and a detailed description of writing a mailing list system. For the inevitable occasions where your program refuses to work there's also a section on debugging.
Particularly useful for those with spreadsheets will be the unit on transferring data to other systems (SuperCalc 2 is used as an example) and there's even a section on writing routines to make up bar charts and simple graphical displays from your data.
This is a comprehensive book which will expand the capabilities of any dBase user, and will be particularly welcome by those unfamiliar with programming. The only real minus point is the price - £22.95 ain't cheap, but then if you've paid a hundred for the package and are only running it on three cylinders at the moment, it could well prove a good investment.